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Best affordable PH pen and TDS pen


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I'm still working on cycling this 2.5 gal jug and my PH has dropped below the capability of my test drops to measure.  My test only goes down to 6 and I've been at or below 6 for a week or two now without any way of measuring further below.  

So I need to get a pen and of course down the road I will need a TDS pen so I figured I'd ask about it now.  

I need the PH pen to be affordable.  I can't afford, right now, to drop 50 bucks on one and still be able to afford calibration solutions.  I would like it if I only had to calibrate it occasionally, but understand that I may have to choose between regular calibration and price.  I also read a lot of conflicting things on how to store PH pens.  

Thanks for your help!

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That's nice and affordable.  Thanks, DET.  Any suggestions for a budget pick PH meter of some kind?  I really can't afford more than 50 dollars right now for both the meter and the calibration solutions.

 

Not a problem that is the first and only TDS pen I have used and its fantastic. As far as a PH Pen, for a quality pen it will cost more than your budget. So for now, I would simply get the API Test kit if I were in your shoes. I use the HM PH Pen as well.

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I have the API kit.  It only goes down to 6.0.  My substrate has buffered below 6.0 and therefore I have no actual idea of what my actual PH is.  I'm aiming for between 5.6 and 6.2 but I can't tell if I'm there or if my substrate has dropped me down even further and I need to use a bunch of baking soda to reduce the buffering capacity of this substrate.  If there's another kit that goes down further, I'd be happy to buy it instead.

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I tried 3 of the affordable PH pens ranging from $20-$50 and I can tell you one thing. It's an absolute waste of money, but if you want to try it for yourself you can. A buddy also tried several of the cheaper ones with the same results as me, even tried on each others tanks and readings were all over the place (even after several "fine tuning" attempts were made).

 

The only reliable one so far has been the one James linked.

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Not a problem that is the first and only TDS pen I have used and its fantastic. As far as a PH Pen, for a quality pen it will cost more than your budget. So for now, I would simply get the API Test kit if I were in your shoes. I use the HM PH Pen as well.

 

Hey DET, which HM Digital pH pen do you have?  Could you take a moment and share your thoughts about it?

 

I have a pinpoint but am considering a pen style meter (for use in multiple tanks) if I can find one that is easily stored, thus maintaining calibration.  I'd love to hear you opinions on HM meters.

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I tried 3 of the affordable PH pens ranging from $20-$50 and I can tell you one thing. It's an absolute waste of money, but if you want to try it for yourself you can. A buddy also tried several of the cheaper ones with the same results as me, even tried on each others tanks and readings were all over the place (even after several "fine tuning" attempts were made).

 

The only reliable one so far has been the one James linked.

Just want to echo the cheap PH pens. I have gone through 3 different ones, and none worked well at all. I saved my money and ended up with seneye reef monitoring system. I am happy with that system.

In the short term, us the API low PH test kits

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I tried several pens - like others have said - waste of money.  I now use the same one James Aquatics uses - American Marine Pinpoint - Yes, it costs $90 - but it is accurate and I only have to look at the monitor (the pinpoint stays in the tank) to check the PH and I know it is accurate.

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You're still cycling. If it looks like the cycle has stalled and you think the pH may have crashed too low, just do a water change. Eventually you will get back into range. At this stage, the exact pH doesn't matter as much as developing the proper beneficial bacteria. Later on, unless you are actually aiming for a pH of, say, 5.5, you want it above 6 anyway and won't need the lower range.

Like other people said, you won't find a reliable pH instrument for the price range you're looking for. Mine is a curiosity more than a necessity - I got it because I wanted to play with it, not so much because I needed the accuracy. I would advise saving your money for other things.

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Hey DET, which HM Digital pH pen do you have?  Could you take a moment and share your thoughts about it?

 

I have a pinpoint but am considering a pen style meter (for use in multiple tanks) if I can find one that is easily stored, thus maintaining calibration.  I'd love to hear you opinions on HM meters.

 

Absolutely. I have a review on this PH Pen on my YouTube page, its older. I really like the pen alot, it is quite expensive, which can be a downfall, but it works well. When I was introduced to the PH Pen, I didn't realize it wasn't an instant reading, like the TDS pen. It usually takes upwards of 30-45 seconds to reach a conclusion. Not to big of a deal though as it helps you avoid using liquids, etc. 

 

Just be sure to take good care of the product, follow the directions thoroughly. Keep your pen calibrated and if it tells you to keep the product wet or moist, do it. I received my pen about two years ago and its time for me to calibrate. 

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You're still cycling. If it looks like the cycle has stalled and you think the pH may have crashed too low, just do a water change. Eventually you will get back into range. At this stage, the exact pH doesn't matter as much as developing the proper beneficial bacteria. Later on, unless you are actually aiming for a pH of, say, 5.5, you want it above 6 anyway and won't need the lower range.

Like other people said, you won't find a reliable pH instrument for the price range you're looking for. Mine is a curiosity more than a necessity - I got it because I wanted to play with it, not so much because I needed the accuracy. I would advise saving your money for other things.

I've been doing 60% water changes twice a week to try and get back in range.  I'm back down at or below 6 within 12 hours.  This substrate seems to be buffering low, but I need to know how low, especially as it is a new substrate on the market that I wanted to try out to see how well it worked/didn't work. As I stated, I want my final PH to be between 5.6 and 6.2.

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Pinpoint pH meter

Do you use it on a continual basis in one tank or do you use it to check all of your tanks and store it? If you store it, does require to be stored in a special solution?

 
The device has no temperature compensation, is there any problems with that?
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Do you use it on a continual basis in one tank or do you use it to check all of your tanks and store it? If you store it, does require to be stored in a special solution?

 
The device has no temperature compensation, is there any problems with that?

 

 

You can leave it in the tank. and you can move it around.

 

Assume all your tanks are healthy. (or take the water out in container and measure it in container)

 

You can store it in storage solution, which can be saturated KCl solution.

 

Temperature only affects two decimal. so not big deal.

 

Life of probe is about 1 year. then you need replace it.

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You can leave it in the tank. and you can move it around.

 

Assume all your tanks are healthy. (or take the water out in container and measure it in container)

 

You can store it in storage solution, which can be saturated KCl solution.

 

Temperature only affects two decimal. so not big deal.

 

Life of probe is about 1 year. then you need replace it.

Thanks. I keep telling myself to slow down on the spending but there are to many toys to buy :thumbsu:

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Absolutely. I have a review on this PH Pen on my YouTube page, its older. I really like the pen alot, it is quite expensive, which can be a downfall, but it works well. When I was introduced to the PH Pen, I didn't realize it wasn't an instant reading, like the TDS pen. It usually takes upwards of 30-45 seconds to reach a conclusion. Not to big of a deal though as it helps you avoid using liquids, etc. 

 

Just be sure to take good care of the product, follow the directions thoroughly. Keep your pen calibrated and if it tells you to keep the product wet or moist, do it. I received my pen about two years ago and its time for me to calibrate. 

 

DET, thanks for the response.  I watched your youtube video (great stuff as always), but still have a question or two for you.

 

I get that you have to keep it calibrated and I already have calibration solutions (multiple points).....and I would have access to a way to "check" accuracy periodically (my pinpoint).  

  • The product description for this item states "Includes storage solution in a sponge embedded in a translucent cap"  How well does the cap do its job?  How often do you refresh the storage solution?  Any issues keeping the probe wet that you would note?
  • How well has the pen maintained accuracy over the last 2 years?  Are you saying you haven't had to calibrate in the last 2 years?  If so, that's a winner in my book.

Just the fact that you've used this for so long and have faith in the pen is a big +1 for me.........I don't see you using something if isn't going to work. 

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Great questions. The cap and the sponge does a great job. A huge bonus I saw in using this pen aside from maneuverability, was how fast it tells your the temperature as well. 

 

To be honest I never "refreshed" the cap, I probably should have, and overall I could of taken better care of the pen, but without all of the management I have to say it has done a great job. At first when I received the pen I would test both with API and this HM PH Pen, but were similar readings, but the pen clearly has an accuracy that an API test solution cannot achieve in my book.

 

I have not had to calibrate the PH Pen for just under two years. I need to at this point as when I went to test my water it read 8.4 or so, and that clearly is not correct. The plus side is the temperature reading still works great.

 

Hope that helps a bit.

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I'm using this ph meter for more then a year -

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Digital-PH-Meter-Tester-Water-Quality-Monitor-14-00-pH-Range-Hydroponic-Aquarium-/171414871605?hash=item27e91f5e35:g:fE0AAOSwEK9T5FpQ

I'm always checking it with liquid test and my Hanna ph pen and it's never wrong, only calibrated it once, I attached it next to my tank and probe always in the water so I only need press the button and I've got reading in a few seconds

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DET, James, or anyone else in the know........I have yet another question.

 

When getting ready to use a pH probe that has been stored in "pH storage solution", would it be a good idea to rinse the probe (perhaps with RO water) prior to inserting it into the tank, or is the KCl in dilute enough amounts that it doesn't affect chemistry or tank health?

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